Food events wine and spirits

Orion Wine Festival 2015

Friday, February 06, 2015Me! In words

Its an annual event we look forward to - The Orion Wine festival. Organized in association with the Karnataka Wine Board, this festival brings around 30 national wine brands together in a showcase that spans three days at the Lakeside Brigade Gateway. Having attended its maiden 2013 show and missing the 2014 edition, wild horses couldn't keep me away from this one (though why I would be near wild horses is worth pondering about). Anyways, rambling aside, this edition was from January 23rd to January 25th. With entry pegged at Rs 500 a couple or Rs 300 if you are walking in on your own, the offerings on the inside were more than worth the entry price. Children could walk in for free. 

We visited on the second day of the festival. We decided on getting there early afternoon, so as to beat the crowd and actually linger at each counter. We got there a little past 1.30PM. The entry way was done up beautifully to signify the wine festival it ensconced on the inside. Past the security and entry, the uniformity in design of the stalls helped build the ambience well. 

The entryway

Besides entry way

Wine stalls across the stretch of the space with the lakeside waterfall in the background. The perfect setting for a wine festival in a city that has no access to water-based backdrops

Almost every stall had a tasting of their signature wines or those labels that they were showcasing at the event. These were for Rs 50 a tasting portion and in some cases, depending on the label, Rs 100. We made a beeline for some of our current wine brand favorites - Big Banyan, Fratelli and SDU Winery. 

We picked up quite a stash of wines that day - and considering most brands were offering a Rs 100 to Rs 150 of their labels as well as throwing in great deals such as buy two and get one free, its little wonder we came home with a Big Banyan Limited edition 2008 Shiraz that is French oak aged for a year and then for another year in the bottle. The first time we had this wine, we fell in love with it and have always tried to get ourselves a bottle when we can. These bottles are numbered and I can now happily say that 2 of the collection have been picked up by us.             

Fratelli had a really nice range of wines available for tasting that day. We tasted their Sangiovese, Merlot and their Chardonnay. The last one, along with quite a few others from the range, has won the Decanter Award. For Chardonnay, which is often considered a go-to wine if you are unsure, it had a very clear taste profile, which was fresh and nudged you to take the next sip. Needless to say, I have a bottle with me now. We also picked up their Sangiovese and their celebrated Sette 2010. This wine is a blend of a Sangiovese and a Cabernet Sauvignon and with the 2010 bottle ceding dominance to the Cabernet Sauvignon. This one, along with the Big Banyan Ltd edition is saved for a special occasion. 

I also had my eyes on their imported Cintilla range from Fratelli but had to hold myself back. There was a lot more to explore. 

We then got to the stall of another favorite of mine - SDU Winery. Having visited this winery a while ago on a blogger's meet, I find their wines a pleasure to have. I was eyeing the Reserva, but restrained myself to their more conveniently sized smaller 375 ml bottles of a Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. A Grover wine found its way into our stash as well. 

The good thing about the Orion Wine Festival is that it serves as the complete package of entertainment. There were musicians doing an unplugged set, literally walking around and playing. There was the brilliant street magician Axe who mind tricks were seriously out-of-this-world. Am talking here of cards suspended in mid-air, currency notes changing denomination before our eyes and card exchanges happening without a finger being laid on them. 

There was also a dance troupe that peppered the event with performances. Food stalls by Cafe Mangii, and few other brands made it a complete day's outing as well. 

Axe giving Anoushka a one-on-one show

A few liquor boutiques like Madhuloka had stalls set up with tasting menus that covered a wide range of labels - state as well as Indian. A number of brands were made available at discounted rates, making a stopover at these stalls quite worth it. 

Grape stomping was available for those who wanted to get their hands, no feet dirty.

Some brands at the festival did need to get their act together though. A little more training for the staff to ensure that they know how to introduce their wines to customers who were interested would help make a huge difference to the way their brands were perceived.

Each day had a range of entertainment options lined up - from illusionists, to hula hoop artistes, dance troops, jazz bands, acrobatics and more. 

I would suggest visiting the next edition of the Orion Mall Festival early evening onwards. The setting truly comes to life as daylight fades to evening and you will be able to appreciate all that is on offer at each of the stalls. 

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